Woohoo for horror recommendations! Obviously I’m not a reviewer, these are just my thoughts and rambles on the film. I haven’t written something like this in some time so I apologise if it’s all over the place and a bit drab. I’m actually going to drag out an old rating system I used on my old horror blog, with one added feature “bathtub girl”. It won’t be needed for this post, but by golly do I know it will be in the future!
Last night we checked out Hereditary. A brief run-down of the story is that after the passing of the female leads mother both a lot of tragedy and weirdness come in to play. And it really is weird… so bloody weird.
It’s one of the longer horror films and if you’re not invested in a slow burner it will probably have you a little fed up until the midway point. This is pretty surprising given that a couple of big events happen in the first half, but their occurrence came off oddly disjointed, albeit the second event involving their daughter really was quite unexpected and shocking. If you like eerie horror films that are strange, psychological, and atmospheric (however, with some pretty gruesome scenes) then this might be one for you! That being said, that is usually my kind of horror and something about this wasn’t aced for me, but I can’t put my finger on what.
I can usually handle a slow-paced film but for some reason, and it may have just been me that evening, I got a little impatient waiting for some kind of clue as to what the rud was going on. Yes, the trail was obvious from the beginning who the big bad most likely was, but the first half of the film was much more about family drama than supernatural horror, although the second half did make up for this. It seemed a bit like two genres mushed into one, family drama and horror, which given my love of Haunting of Hill House, which also makes use of these two genres to bring suspense and fear, it might just be that this film wasn’t entirely for me.
There was a fair bit jammed into it, following a few characters initially, and quite the mystery. Despite there being a big bad, I never quite knew who out of the rest of the cast I was supposed to be suspicious of, one moment being all “aha!” to one character and the next “oh, sorry, about that” and taking the handcuffs back off them.
This is in part due to the characters, at least the women in the film, being fairly complicated from the offset – the men appear to become more disturbed as events unfold – which given the sheer madness of what happens it’s pretty expected and seemingly the point of the film. The acting was really quite brilliant and so the plot was pulled off nicely, which, of course, is always a bonus in a horror film! However, I can’t help but think had the acting (not to mention the set design, production etc) been less than subpar the film would have been no-where near as good. Then again, towards the very end, there were a few comical moments (that I’m sure weren’t supposed to be comical) such as someone taking a swim through the air. But I was soon biting back my laughter when that same character had me screaming. Eep, don’t laugh at the spooky folk. Heck yeah for jump scare!
The set (in particular the main house) again reminded me of Haunting of Hill House. Dark, mysterious and, well honestly, haunting. This kind of set for me is always pretty much king of the horror world.
I’ve seen a few reviews state that the film could have been much shorter, but given the different paths that were taken (and it was an interesting venture into horror) I actually feel I would have preferred it as a series. Perhaps this would have made the film feel a little less chopped in half and instead allowed for more of the supernatural in the first part and drama in the second – mo’ time, mo’ story as they say. I would have enjoyed learning more of the matriarch’s history, and also snippets that were dropped in (although understandable once the end of the film is reached) may have been more effective if expanded upon. For example, mental health was brought into it, and at first I groaned a bit internally (Bird Box’s view of the mentally ill irritated me and I expected this was going to take the same turn) but reality was much more interesting. A series would have allowed for more empathy to be built towards characters and more delving into the past oddness and behaviour of the matriarch and her “hobbies”. It’s common for horror films to only glaze over the background of cults, the monsters, etc, but it seemed a bit like because this film went over that boundary it left room for more to be explained. It might also just be that my interest was grasped as they used a some-what unusual otherworldly being.
To sum it up, I enjoyed the film even though it was a bit all over the place at times and the type of gore it involved usually has me turning away. Admittedly I did look away from some scenes, I both don’t have the stomach for them but also certain images will haunt me later on due to my OCD and I prefer not to give my own mental illness more ammo. It only means more rituals and I ain’t got time for them, dag nabbit! I feel as though something was missing from the film and that at times it tried to do too much, but it would be a film I’d recommend for people wanting something a bit different that they can sink their teeth into. It’s also a great film for a chat about after due to the different elements involved and it is a great example of horror being more than just shock, gore, and spooks. I’m definitely glad to have seen it so thank you Lee for the recomendation!
One final comment about the film: where did the dog keep going?
Happy happy trailer:
Watch again? Maybe. Actually, I think I will watch it a second time for sure.
Creepy Child? Yeah, she’s pretty weird.
Bathtub Girl? Nope!